No kiln? No problem! Need to fill up space in your kiln or have one sitting idle? Also, no problem! Whether you need kiln space or have space to offer, there’s a website that can connect you with other local artists.
The website kilnshare.com is a free kiln directory that connects ceramic artists with local kiln owners all over the world. The platform is on a mission to make kiln hire more accessible for potters and artists, while at the same time supporting kiln owners to earn extra income.
Launched in April 2021, Kiln Share is quickly becoming the go-to website when looking for local kiln space to hire. The directory-style website currently has 250 kilns for hire, listed across 30 countries. Over 6000 potters across the globe found Kiln Share online in January 2022, with hundreds of firing requests being sent to kiln owners, highlighting the significant demand for local kiln hire.
Kiln Hire Made Easy
The concept of Kiln Share is simple, and best of all it’s free for both ceramic artists to search and for kiln owners to join. From firing a single mug to filling up a whole kiln, potters looking to hire kiln space can browse the interactive map to find local kiln listings near them.
Individual kiln listing pages display information provided by the kiln owner and include firing rules, the kiln’s location, and a few pictures (some kiln owners may even state their prices). Potters can quickly send messages to kiln owners for more information through an easy-to-use contact form. After Kiln Share has connected the potter and kiln owner, it is their duty together to work out a firing arrangement that is suitable for both parties. Kiln Share does not charge commission, process payment fees, or have any responsibility or liability over the kiln-rental agreement.
Advice For Listing Your Kiln
If you have spare kiln capacity and are looking for the opportunity to earn some extra income, listing your equipment on Kiln Share is a great idea. One huge benefit of the platform is its ability to connect kiln owners with local potters, helping you to build new relationships, share skills, and talk about all things pottery with other clay enthusiasts nearby.
Listing your kiln on Kiln Share is easy (the sign-up process takes just a few minutes), and there are no strict requirements to join. All that’s needed is a photo of your kiln, your zip code/postcode location, and your firing rules (if you have any).
Due to the nature of renting out kiln space and the many variables that come with firing, it is up to the kiln owner to decide their own firing rules, prices, and payment method—Kiln Share simply connects the potter and kiln owner together. No matter whether you are an experienced kiln sharer or a newbie kiln owner who’s new to kiln hire, it’s vital to discuss several things with each potter who contacts you about renting space in your kiln.
Kiln Share strongly recommends that you ask potters for proof of clay and glaze types, and discuss liability and damages just in case anything goes wrong during the firing. It’s also worth thinking about your own firing schedule (so you know when you can accommodate another potter’s work) and your drop off and pick up requirements. It’s very common that potters and artists will ask about prices when they first contact you. If you don’t state these on your kiln listing page, it’s a good idea to have a price list ready to reply with. Kiln Share has been built so the kiln owner is always in control. You do not have to fire a potter’s work just because they sent you a message through the platform.
Kiln Share has been very well received around the globe, which has helped the platform to grow rapidly. Due to the sudden surge of many individuals taking up pottery as a hobby during the pandemic, there are more budding potters than ever before looking for kiln hire. For kiln owners, the ability to have full control over their firing rules and prices has helped ease any misconceptions about the challenges of kiln hire.
Beyond connecting those with kilns to those without, Kiln Share has even been used by professional potters to help increase their production capacity or as an emergency firing alternative when their own kiln was having issues. For a few kiln owners who list their equipment on Kiln Share, renting kiln space to local potters has enabled them to comfortably invest in another kiln, which really does show the power of the platform.
At the moment, demand for kiln hire significantly outweighs the number of kilns listed on the platform, which has led to a high volume of kiln-hire requests being sent to just a handful of kiln owners in certain areas across the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia. It would be fantastic to see more kilns listed across Central and North America in states such as Wyoming, Nebraska, and Montana, and in major cities such as London, New York, Chicago, Sydney, and Melbourne.
As positive word continues to spread about Kiln Share and the concept of renting out kiln space becomes more mainstream, the number of kiln listings will increase to meet this global demand, continuing to help make kiln hire more accessible for all.
Advice About Creating a Platform in the Ceramics Community
The best piece of advice that I can share with anyone who’s looking to build a new platform or resource within the ceramics community is to never listen to the people who are negative about your idea. If you can see the demand (or have experienced the issue for yourself), and you’re confident that what you plan to create is something of value to a specific audience, then that’s your reason to start!
Initially with Kiln Share, it was difficult to promote the concept of renting kiln space to kiln owners. But over time, as a few open-minded kiln owners joined and the directory started to generate a buzz and attract potters, more and more kiln owners jumped on board (and continue to do so nearly every day). As I manage and maintain Kiln Share solely on my own, the platform’s running costs are very low. My next task is to introduce branded display advertising so I can start generating some revenue that I can invest back into the directory.
The ceramics community is full of creative, kind, and knowledgeable people, and more resources and platforms that promote sharing can only be a good thing for the field.
If you have any questions about Kiln Share or have feedback about the platform, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
the author Mike McManus, like so many hobby potters, doesn’t own his own kiln. He created Kiln Share to help make kiln hire more accessible for potters around the world. To learn more, visit kilnshare.com.